This will be the last instalment of this series for now! As I’ve said, I hope to expand on some of these themes in future posts.
-I’m not against the economy growing. Probably a lot of the time that is a good thing. However, I’m also not so convinced as others that it is a necessary thing or that it doesn’t have downsides we need to think more about. Perhaps because of the way the world is set up currently, endless growth seems like a necessity, and we have to work with the world we’ve got, but I’m unconvinced that this is the only possibility. However, for the time being, with the situation we have, governments should probably be smarter about helping the economy eg with productivity.
-I suspect that the best way to improve the lives of people in other countries who are suffering is more often to find ways of putting pressure on those governments to do a better job (with whatever appropriate support we can offer), than to give direct assistance to those in need, though of course there will be situations where the latter is the only option. I don’t like that this is the case, but I think it might be.
-All else being equal, a simpler system of taxation, regulation, and government spending is preferable. Rather than making the system unwieldy in its complexity, find the most impactful places to focus in order to bring about a desirable result, and apply pressure there. We shouldn’t sacrifice anything important in our quest for simplicity, but often it will be better to give up some exactitude for the sake of a more straightforward and understandable system.
-I think we should support families that want to have more children. Economic pressures today discourage larger families, and I think it’s worthwhile to seek to counterbalance that momentum, even if pronatalist policies of that sort don’t make a huge demographic difference. I believe it’s still worthwhile for the effects it will have.
-I differ with people who say economics is too reductively materialistic or quantitative, though I understand what they’re saying. I think there really is a shocking amount of intellectual richness to be found in economics, despite how limited it might initially seem.
-I really think the economy should be oriented toward improving people’s health (physical and mental), increasing happiness and community and wisdom and virtue and knowledge and justice and freedom (not defined merely as moral or intellectual chaos) and security and strength, and reliable access to necessities, and vibrant artistic traditions that are beautiful and rich. The size of the economy should be secondary to those sorts of goals, and the mere increase of the wealth among the wealthiest citizens should probably not be seen as a political success at all, no matter what it does to GDP or apparent GDP per capita.